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    Asi Taulava ties record in PBA longevity just months short of turning 50

    Nov 9, 2022
    Asi Taulava
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    EVERGREEN Asi Taulava made history on Wednesday night when he officially played in his 23rd PBA season after briefly seeing action for NLEX in its Commissioner’s Cup game against NorthPort.

    The 6-foot-9 Taulava, who will turn golden boy four months from now, suited up for five minutes in the fourth quarter of a 107-94 NLEX loss to the Batang Pier at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    See: Asi Taulava set to tie Jawo record for longevity as he gets NLEX call-up

    While it may be wrong timing for Taulava to observe the milestone as the Road Warriors suffered a third straight loss, the former MVP was just happy being back on the court again.

    “It feels good,” he said. “It’s not the best time seeing us getting massacred like that, (but) it was fun out there to be with the guys.”

    The game was Taulava’s first for the franchise this season after being reactivated in the Road Warriors’ roster for the mid-season tournament.

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      In doing so, he is now in his 23rd season in Asia’s pioneering pro league to tie the legendary Robert Jaworski for the longest career ever by any player in PBA history.

      The last time Taulava played for his 22nd season came in December last year during the Governors Cup when NLEX whipped Terrafirma, 116-86.

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      Taulava said he was actually surprised when coach Frankie Lim called his name at the 7:11 mark of the fourth quarter and NLEX trailing, 94-72.

      “When I heard my name, it took me like three times, ‘Huh? Me?.’ So I have to ask coach,” he said. “I thought he was calling somebody else when I heard my name.”

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      Taulava came in for import Earl Clark and stayed on the floor for five minutes and eight seconds before being substituted by Clark with 2:03 to go with the count at 107-88 in favor of the Batang Pier.

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      He was scoreless during the stint and was 0-for-1 from the field after missing his attempt from three-point range.

      Nonetheless, Taulava said he’s grateful for Lim for giving him the opportunity.

      “That’s another chalk to my belt playing for another season,” said Taulava, who previously worked with Lim when the big man was still with TNT, where the NLEX coach once served as assistant coach and team manager.

      For the brief time that he was on the floor, Taulava is tempering expectations of being fielded in again in the Road Warriors’ coming games.

      “I want Tony (Semerad) and JR (Quinahan) to hurry up and get healthy,” he said. “I’m just subbing in, keeping the spot filled. These guys are coming off surgery, and once they get healthy, they’ll get back playing.”

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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